Author: Julia Donaldson

The Guffalo is a classic children’s book, full of inviting and exciting illustrations. This book is a family favourite due to its repetitive structure and short rhymes.

This book describes a very clever mouse’s adventure through the deep dark forest. On his way he encounters a variety of dangerous animals. In order to scare them off he invents a story about a terrifying creature called the Gruffalo. Imagine his surprise when he meets the real Gruffalo!

Here are my top The Gruffalo activities you can do with your child to help develop their speech and language skills:

1. Due to the repetitive nature of the story and the clear sequence of events throughout, it makes it the perfect story to work on your child’s narrative/story telling skills.

Encourage your child to tell you what happened in the story focusing on the following elements:

  • who?
  • What doing?
  • What?
  • Where?

If your child struggles to sequence the story use the images attached here to support them:

2. There is positional language used throughout this story e.g. in, on, behind, ahead and inside. Cut up the pictures attached above and put them under/ behind/ ahead/ on/ in objects in the room. Ask your child to find the pictures using the positional language e.g. “find the Gruffalo under the chair” “find the Gruffalo behind the table”. You can then encourage your child to hide the pictures around the room and give you instructions using the positional. vocabulary.

3. Use the finger puppets provided by www.gruffalo.com when you are reading the story to your child to engage their attention throughout. Introduce a new finger puppet each time a new character appears and model the symbolic noise associated with that animal. Place no pressure on your child to copy these noises, but praise him/her if he/she does. Encourage your child to wear one of the finger puppets (e.g. the mouse) and to hold it up every time the character appears in the story.

The Gruffalo Finger Puppets

4. After reading the book you can engage in pretend play with your child acting out the animals’ noises and movements. This is a lovely way to develop their pretend play skills.

5. When you have finished reading the book choose a character from the story with your child and encourage your child to draw a picture of that character. Talk about the descriptive features of each character (e.g. colours, size, features) to support your child to include all the features in their drawing.